ISOL Chapter 36
Su Xiao Pei felt warmth just from seeing Ran Fei Ze’s smile, the corner of her lips couldn’t help but start to lift as well.
“I… It is fortunate that I met Soldier. Otherwise, I do not know what would’ve happened to me.”
Ran Fei Ze smiled and said, “Miss knows how to be grateful; my heart feels full.”
Su Xiao Pei suddenly became stiff. This guy… really knows how to ruin the moment.
The two of the sat and looked at each other without saying anything, and finally could not help but laugh.
“Soldier saw the officials tonight, did you speak of anything interesting?” SU Xiao Pei
“We did, but I cannot tell Miss about it.” Ran Fei Ze said, “We also talked about serious matters, this I can tell you.
Su Xiao Pei’s face went black, interesting things that I can’t know, men in this world will also gather and talk nonsense?
“Well then, please talk about the serious matter.”
“Tonight, Sima Wan Ru’s apprentice sisters will go back to their sect clan.”
Su Xiao Pei was a little surprised, “So fast? Didn’t we saw them walking around the market today?”
“Miss Sima is afraid, that was why she went out with her apprentice sister to visit the Chang residence. She took the opportunity to go out shopping, and because of the funeral at their house, it is common for guest to leave. But Miss did say that she was delayed in returning home, this matter can be investigated.
“Investigate?” Su Xiao Pei thought for a while, “In that case, we can tell Head Constable Qin tomorrow, let’s go to Sima residence as well.”
“It’s fine to go tomorrow, but I have a better idea.” Ran Fei Ze said, “The few apprentice sisters of Miss Sima Wan Ru have left, this is a good thing. They won’t be able to travel far with just half a day. I will go and find Bai Yu Lang to chase after them. Those girls came back with Miss Sima, what happened on the road, they would know about it. They arrive together, but because of the case, the apprentice sister will leave first, once the case is solved, Miss Sima will meet up with them and returned back to the sect clan together, and no one will know that they split up.”
“Soldier, are you suspicious of Miss Sima Wan Ru?”
“I’m not suspicious. Regarding this matter, it is good to find out more information about it.” Ran Fei Ze said. “Earlier today, Head Constable Qin brought a few officials to question Sima Residence’s friends, including the Chang Residence. The Chang Residence made a lot of preparations for this marriage, the book regarding the list of dowries and the dowry has been prepared, all they had to do was to wait for the day of the marriage. But they did not expect, that the day of the marriage, was the 7th day of the funeral. Everyone in the Chang Residence was at home on the day of death of the eldest young miss, therefore, they weren’t a suspect. I asked Bai Yu Lang how the relationship between Miss Sima and the Young Master Chang is was, he said that the one who proposed was Young Master Chang. His parents were overjoyed, so both side of families decided to set a date for the marriage, both sides quickly exchanged their family book, confirming their children’s marriage.”
“Why did they wait till Miss Sima Wan Qing was 19 or 20? Weren’t they childhood friends? What happened in between? Did Miss Sima or Young Master Chang had a relationship before this marriage?”
Ran Fei Ze smiled, he had also asked the same question, so he knew the answer. “The day they set the marriage was 3 years ago, that year, Miss Sima Wan Qing was 16 years old, she was at a suitable age to get married. But after the marriage date was decided, Young Master Chang changed his attitude and said that his career came first, so they decided to wait.”
“Soldier, does that Young Master Chang knows martial arts?” Su Xiao Pei suddenly asked.
“He knows. The biggest martial arts school is in Ning’an City, is opened by Young Master Chang’s maternal uncle, Luo Kui. Young Master Chang learned from this uncle since he was young. The Sima Residence’s two daughters were also taught martial arts by one of the master in the school. But the second young miss left the school and join another school called MingXiu.”
Once Ran Fei Ze said his piece, he waited, he saw that Su Xiao Pie did not speak he asked, “Does Miss suspect Young Master Chang?”
“I do not suspect him; I just want to meet him. He took the initiative to propose, but once the date was set, he dragged it out for more than 3 years. Does Soldier find it strange as well?”
“It is a little strange. But I heard that Young Master Chang is a talented person, he is polite and righteous. Anyone that knows him, would praise him. In the past few years, he had worked diligently and has managed to flourish several shops that belonged to his family. To settle the marriage this time was also proposed by him.”
“So, he took the initiative to propose, then delayed and now he gave consent again, but before his marriage, his fiancée was killed?” Su Xiao Pei nod her head, “All the more I want to meet him.”
“Then, I will talk to Head Constable Qin.”
“Well, if it is possible, it would be better if we did not meet him in the Chang residence. Find a person who can talk well, find a quiet place and talk one-on-one with him.”
“Men and women aren’t allowed to be alone with each other, it is indecent, people will gossip.”
“Ah.” Su Xiao Pei was stunned. “You mean, Head Constable Qin will not arrange, will look down on me, will find that I am shameless?”
“Head Constable Qin knows what Miss did, but it is still okay. Only afraid that Young Master Chang will not turn up for the meeting. If the guy is a well-respected person, they will avoid this type of situation. Heard that Young Master Chang is extremely polite, so we are able to guess his personality.”
“Oh.” Su Xiao Pei looked at Ran Fei Ze.
an Fei Ze smiled, “I am from the jianghu, I would not pay attention to such details.”
Su Xiao Pei nodded, “It is best for Soldier to not pay attention, otherwise, I would not be able to survive.”
The two of them looked at each other again. Su Xiao Pei said, “Solder can talk to Head Constable Qin, let Head Constable Qin meet Young Master Chang, I will accompany him.”
Ran Fei Ze nod his head.
Su Xiao Pei said again, “Let also meet up with Second Miss of the Sima family, but at different timing, do not tell them that we are meeting both of them as well. For Miss Sima, tell her that it was I who wants to meet with her, that I want to talk to her about the murder. I want to observe what will happen when Miss Sima meets up to Young Master Chang.”
Ran Fei Ze thought about it before nodding his head in agreement.
“Soldier, if I have to guess, I think Young Master Chang likes Miss Sima Wan Ru, but I do not know why he was set to married with Miss Sima Wan Qing. When that happened, Miss Sima Wan Ru was heartbroken, that was why she left home. Is this ridiculous?”
“Naturally.” Ran Fei Ze agreed. “A brother-in-law and wife’s sister that likes each other, it is not proper, people will gossip. It is still a period of mourning, if there is no evidence, it is not respectful to say this. Miss is quick-minded, you must be cautious of your words.”
Su Xiao Pei looked at Ran Fe Ze and thought, ‘this soldier is speculating with me, but he is speaking more cautiously.’ She secretly sighs. If it is in modern times, these people would have been invited to the station to drink tea and be interrogated. Those questions that were rude would have been asked…
In Rome, do as the romans do. She still must learn to adapt; thus, she paid more attention to it. There are some differences due to the people exposure, if she were to ask these questions in modern world, it may lead to guilty consciences, but here, it may lead to anger. She has to keep these points in mind.
Su Xiao Pei nodded, thank Ran Fei Ze for the reminder. Then the both of them discussed the details of what to do next. Once they were done, Ran Fei Ze told Su Xiao Pei that he would go and find Head Constable Qin and Bai Yu Lang to tell them what had happened today. He told Su Xiao Pei to close the door and windows and said that he would tell the innkeeper to not let anyone disturb her.
He reminded her multiple times, as well as checked the premises. Before he left, he turned around and stared at the door, Su Xiao Pei closed the door and locked it securely. Once, Ran Fei Ze knew that the door was locked, he left.
Su Xiao Pei updated her logbook and kept it safely. When the night was quiet, her heart start to settle down, she was fortunate to have met Ran Fei Ze.
The next day, Ran Fei Ze and Su Xiao Pei had breakfast together, then they left for the Yamen. Qin De Zheng had been working for a while, at this moment, he was giving orders to a few of the constables. Seeing Su Xiao Pei, he greeted her, “Miss Su, this is Head Constable Gu. The reward notices for Ma Zheng Yuan have been taken down, Head Constable Gu will leave today to Ji City to guard the Ma Residence and Ma Yao. The area will also be heavily guarded.”
Head Constable Qin cupped his fist and greeted Su Xiao Pei and Ran Fei Ze. Su Xiao Pei looked at Ran Fei Ze and copied him, returning the same greetings
This time, no one questioned her about her salute, Head Constable Qin said that he heard about Su Xiao Pei deduction skills, but he will believe it when he sees it, Su Xiao Pei only smiled at him. Qin De Zheng and Head Constable Qin discussed for a while longer before Head Constable Gu and his men set off. Once they had left, Qin De Zheng turned to face Su Xiao Pei and asked, “Is there any orders, Miss Su?”
Su Xiao Pei nodded; she had almost forgotten about it. She rushed towards Head Constable Gu, “Please advise Ma Yao and the Ma Residence, that if had met Ma Zheng Yuan, to not show their fear.”
“May I ask why?”
“If they are not afraid of him, it may save their lives.”
“How is that possible?” The officials were suspicious of Su Xiao Pei.
If Su Xiao Pei were to explain, it would be a long story, as well as it was not easy to convey the reason, but it does work, just as long Head Constable Gu convey her message to them.
Head Constable Gu looked at Qin De Zheng and saw that Qin De Zheng had no objection. He nods his head in agreement and note it down. He turned around, ordered his men and they set off.
Qin De Zheng asked Su Xiao Pei to return back to the house. A few of them were talking, firstly, Bai Yu Lang was missing because he took some officials to chase the apprentice sister of Sima Wan Ru, as well as investigate relevant matters regarding Sima Wan Ru. Then, the invitation to invite Young Master Chang and Sima Wan Ru, Qin De Zheng asked Su Xiao Pei how she wants to go about it.
On this day, the investigation was carried out in full swing. In the afternoon, Su Xiao Pei was still dressed as a servant and she sat in the tea house with Ran Fei Ze and Qin De Zheng. Su Xiao Pei suggested to not choose the meeting place at the Chang Residence nor at the Yamen, and suggested an area where it is neutral. Qin De Zheng suggested this tea house that they were in. They were on the second floor, in one of them rooms at the end of the floor, it was an ideal meeting place as it gave them the privacy they needed. They were able to see the street view of the tea house gate from the window, and they were able to see the stairs that lead up to the second floor. Su Xiao Pei felt that this location was very good.
A while later, Young Master Chang and his servant had arrived. Su Xiao Pei looked out the window and saw that the servant was carrying a sword in his hands. She asked Ran Fei Ze, and he replied softly, “That servant’s job is to carry the sword, it is to represent their master’s status and reputation. Needless to say, sons of high-ranking officials also like to bring their swords. One, the decorations of the sword’s sheath, two, is show that they know how to use a sword as well as their martials arts. All of these to represent their status.”
Su Xiao Pei grinned and thought back on last night, when Sima Wan Ru was holding her sword. Had she missed her intentions?
Young Master Chang entered the room and met with Qin De Zheng, Ran Fei Ze and Su Xiao Pei. Young Master Chang sat down and ordered his servant to wait outside the room with his sword. The whole process was calm and smooth, and, his appearance was decent, he was indeed a son of a noble.
Qin De Zheng followed what Su Xiao Pei ordered, asked Young Master Chang several questions. Including whether or not did Sima Wan Qing brought up any complains, any things that had irritated her, how the marriage was organized, where was he on the night that Sima Wan Qing was murdered, did he hear any suspicious news and so on.
In fact, Qin De Zheng had already asked these questions when he was in the Chang Residence. Su Xiao Pei knew about it as well, but she wanted to observe the Young Master’s expression. When Qin De Zheng had asked the same questions again, Young Master Chang showed no expression of impatience, he was squinting slightly, and his speech was gentle, and he answered the questions carefully.
The squinting move, Ran Fei taught it to her today, he said that when talking, it is not polite to stare at others, in the Jianghu, nobody would generally pay attentions to these kinds of small things. But, here, in the city, they will pay attention to these. Neither will you lower your status nor will stare at others. Su Xiao Pei thought back, she had always stared at others. It turns out she was a rude person, was always looking down on people.
Since she knew about this ‘courteous’ move, she does not dare to observe Young Master Chang’s eyes now, nor was she able to judge him. He speaks smoothly, but this could also be a well thought out performance. Su Xiao Pei was unable to deduce that Young Master was guilty or was he acting, as his words seems planned.
Finally, the questioning is done, Qin De Zheng then proceed to question Young Master Chang about his relationship with the Sima sisters, such as how were they when they young, when the eldest sister and him were dating, was he worried about the eldest sister as she was weak and does not know martial arts, were the sisters close, did they have different friends, etc.
This is what Su Xiao Pei specifically ordered Qin De Zheng to asked Young Master Chang. But the phrasing and the follow up questions were changed by Qin De Zheng. Young Master Chang’s answers finally changed. He no longer responded to the flow of the questions, the questions regarding the sisters, he took some time to thinking and would care about Qin De Zheng’s intentions of asking these questions. Qin De Zheng explained that it was to have a better understanding of the relationship between the sisters and see if they can find clues regarding the murderer. Certain private issues, when Qin De Zheng asked the question, he was laughing, making it seems like it wasn’t a serious question at all. Su Xiao Pei felt that Qin De Zheng is indeed a veteran and experienced official.
This interrogation took a while, while the interrogation was ongoing, Su Xiao Pei was thinking up of some ideas. At this time, Ran Fei Ze poured some tea, accidentally knocked onto the tea cup. This is a signal that they had discussed before, indicating that Sima Wan Ru had arrived.
Qin De Zheng quickly diverted the conversation and expressed his gratitude to Young Master Chang for his time and help. Young Master Chang was very polite and got up, preparing to leave. Just as he was about to leave, he openly looked at Qin De Zheng, his eyes were filled with seriousness and earnestness. “Head Constable, Miss Sima does not deserve to die, if the murderer is left unpunished, can her soul rest in peace? Head Constable Qin, please catch the murderer and let Miss Sima rest in peace.”
Qin De Zheng cupped his fist and answered him seriously. At this very moment, Young Master Chang’s servant that was waiting outside called out in a surprised tone, “Second Miss.”
Young Master Chang was shocked to hear it and his expression changed. Sima Wan Ru had also seen the servant outside the small door and the scene inside the room, her expression had also changed. When the two of them looked at each other, Sima Wan Ru quickly gave a small bow, Young Master Chang had done the same and greeted her, “Little Sister Wan Ru.”
The two of them had dome their greetings, when they passed each other, Young Master Chang looked back and glance at Sima Wan Ru, whereas, Sima Wan Ru was stiff, but she did not turn.
Young master, together with his servant, left the tea house, and Sima Wan Ru was sitting in the same seat as Young Master Chang, staring at Su Xiao Pei and the gang. She still has her cold expression; she did not bring her servant but she did carry her sword with her.
Qin De Zheng used the same trick and asked Sima Wan Ru some of the standard questions. But her reaction was the opposite of Young Master Chang, she showed intolerance and expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s failure to pursue the murderer. Su Xiao Pei saw that she was the same as the previous night, nervous to the point that she was going to explode.
Ran Fei Ze looked at the sword that Sima Wan Ru had carry and suddenly said, “Miss Sima, it is time to change your sword.”
Su Xiao Pei seriously looked at the sword, this sword seems too simple, she does not know how the sword is supposed to look like but compare to Young Master Chang, her sword does not seem like it belongs to a noble.
Sima Wan Ru froze. Ran Fei Ze continued speaking, “This sword is short and narrow. Although, I can’t feel its weigh, but I can see that this sword is more suitable for a 14 to 15 years old to use. Miss Sima is now older, and your palm would’ve change, this sword would not longer be useful. When I saw Miss hold the sword, I knew that it was not suitable for you. Does Miss Sima have the intention of changing sword?”
Sima Wan Ru was angry and replied, “I am here to discuss the case serious, but why are you talking about swords. Is this how the government do their job? Does the government not have anything to do?”
Qin De Zheng busily tried to get the topic back on track. Su Xiao Pei and Ran Fei Ze exchanged a look and saw that she was doing the same thing again, attacking instead of answering the question.
Sima Wan Ru’s interrogation soon ended because she was not in the mood to cooperate with Qin De Zheng like how Young Master Chang did. After she walked off coldly, everyone let out a sigh of relief.
Su Xiao Pei said, “It is not unreasonable for me to say that they some sort of feelings between them, right?” The way they had looked at each other when they met was too obvious.
Qin De Zheng glanced at Su Xiao Pei “I will send someone to quietly investigate about her sword.
Ran Fei Ze nodded, “The sword is old, as a marital artist, holding a weapon that is not suitable is basically seeking death. Even the scabbard has traces of being repaired. Head Constable, please make sure your subordinates secretly inquire about it.” The two men discussed about it for a while before turning to Su Xiao Pei at the same time.
Su Xiao Pei held her chin, “Young Master Chang said that Miss Sima does not deserved to die, but when he called out to Sima Wan Ru, he said ‘little sister Wan Ru. Although, it does not seem weird to be addressing them, but the contrast is very big. When he talked about the two sisters, he had used some vague words, like ‘the sisters’, ‘everyone’, but not Wan Qing and her sister. In his heart, he did not place his fiancée first but rather his sister-in-law. He also did not words like ‘my fiancée’, ‘Wan Qing’.” She stopped here. Well, in this world first comes is manners and rank, the words that she had just used seems to be confusing. She simply asked, “It seems like we were dealing with an official instead of a fiancé who had just lost his beloved woman, doesn’t it?”
Both Qin De Zheng and Ran Fei Ze frowned. Qin De Zheng said, “Young Master Chang is reputable for his politeness and returned his courtesy, he matched my politeness, but regarding his beloved’s death, it is true that he is too stable when we were talking about it.” Before, when Qin De Zheng was at the Chang Residence, he did not notice this. But now, talking to Young Master Chang alone, Qin De Zheng did feel that the Young Master is too cautious.
“Second Miss Sima’s anger towards him is obvious. From their behavior, it is obvious that they are hiding something.”